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Trench Town hero donates to dead boy’s mom

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS
Staff reporter
hendrickss@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, November 17, 2019

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SINCE he first came into the spotlight in 2017 for having risked his own life to save a youngster from the raging flood waters in a gully, Tremayne Brown has been focused on making an even greater impact in his community and the wider Jamaica.

The 26-year-old resurfaced on the radar of heroic acts last Friday when he made the first donation from his newly established foundation to Japhene Campbell, the mother of sevenyear- old Benjamin Bair, who was killed by a garbage truck as he waited to be picked up from his school, Clan Carthy Primary in St Andrew. Brown told the Jamaica Observer that the news of Benjamin's death broke his heart.

This, he said prompted him to start the paperwork to register the Tremayne Brown Youth Foundation, something he had been envisioning since his first act of gallantry.

“I believe little things can make a difference, so I wanted to start a foundation where I can help people who need the assistance. Mi nuh have a lot of money and the foundation just start, and if I can raise some funds for her, then I know that other people out there can do the same,” Brown told the Sunday Observer.

“I actually believe now that I am here to make a difference. In my community, I want to uplift the people. I want to do programmes for the youth them, take them out of the community and show them another side of life because Jamaica is beautiful. We have a lot of history and a lot of thing here, and a lot of the youth don't even come outside of the community,” said Brown.

He explained that the foundation will target youth in his community and several others across Jamaica where there is a lack of social infrastructure to support their growth and development.

“This is what I am passionate about because I believe the children are our future,” Brown said.

“Right now I am looking about raising some money to build a little community centre in the community, where we can do things like after-school programmes.

“Some of the children in my community, them nuh have nuh help, and we have a lot of children who are very bright as well and them don't have nuh strength behind them to push them. As children they need that push to go in the right direction. Sometimes when mi look and mi see the youth them I think they can get so much more out of life. So that is the reason why I start the foundation.

“We want to make a change in 2020. If is even to reach 10 or 20 people and make a change in them life, that is what we are going to do,” he added.

Also, the father of a soon-to-be seven-year-old son, Brown spoke movingly to Campbell on Thursday when he visited with the grieving mother at her home in Kingston.

“I have a son myself and although as a father I can only imagine what Japhene as a mother is feeling, I can relate to her as a parent. For me, when I heard the news, it broke my heart and knowing that you haven't got anyone to help you or to stand by your side made me want to reach out,” said Brown.

“So today, I just wanted to, from my foundation, make a contribution towards funeral costs,” he added, before handing over an envelope of $10,000 that came both from his own pocket and donations from members of his foundation.

Campbell, who was promised by the school administration that the Ministry of Education would be covering all the expenses for Benjamin's funeral, had initially told the Sunday Observer on Thursday that she was yet to hear directly from the ministry.

After a meeting with the Principal of Clan Carthy Primary on Friday, Campbell was told that the ministry would only cover some and not all of the funeral expenses.

However, later that day in phone conversations with the Sunday Observer, Richards, as well as minister with responsibility for Education, Karl Samuda gave their assurance that the ministry would be covering all of the costs related to the services provided by the funeral home of Campbell's choice. It was explained that the ministry would issue a commitment letter to that funeral home.

“So long as that funeral home is a certified one, there will be no challenge with a commitment letter,” Richards told the Sunday Observer. Still rapt in grief, Campbell said she has not been able to set a date for her son's funeral.

“I am still looking for a church, but I just find this situation impossible. I still don't come to my senses as yet that my son Benjamin Bair is dead. I was growing him up to be a good man. But I just can't believe my son is dead.

“So we haven't set a date yet. I am not getting as much support as I am supposed to. I am hearing from the school, but I haven't heard from the Ministry of Education as yet. They need to reach out to me because I am not getting any positive feedback as to what is happening,” said Campbell.

“On the morning of October 28, I took Benjamin to school and he never came back home. I am in pain. That much I can say. I can't sleep and I can't eat. When I normally take them to school, his sister would say 'bye-bye mommy'. But Benjamin was never fund of saying goodbye. He just waved at me."


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